War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0047 Chapter XXXIX. The Gettysburg Campaign .

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under which it retreat, with small loss, to the main fort. The guns at the fort, and the Baltimore battery, Captain Alexander, at the star fort, Carlin's battery, immediately south of the main fort, engaged the guns of the enemy, and an artillery contest ensued, which was maintained with energy on both sides until 8 o'clock in the evening . During its progress, I massed my troops in the main and star forts and in the rifle-pits in front of them. To my regret the enemy made no effort to take my position by assault. About 9 o'clock in the evening, I convened a council of war, consisting of Brigadier-General Elliott, commanding First Brigade, Colonel Ely, commanding Second Brigade, and Colonel McReynolds, commanding Third Brigade. Before stating the results of this council, it is a proper that I should state the circumstances by which we were surrounded . It was certain that Lee had eluded the Army of the Potomac, and was at liberty to use his whole force against us without hinderance from any source. Our position at Winchester, although affording facilities for defense which would enable an inferior to maintain itself against a superior number for a limited time, could not be successfully defended by the limited means at my command against such an army as surrounded me . Six principal roads, known in the army as the Romney, Pughtown, martinsburg, Berryville, Front Royal, and Starsburg roads, lead into the town. The manes of these roads indicate their course . They are all intersected and connected by cross-roads in close proximity to the town. Cavalry and artillery can approach the town and the forts from every directions. We had but one day's ration left, and our artillery ammunition was almost entirely exhausted. On Monday morning the enemy could have brought one hundred guns to bear on us, to which we could have made no reply. Precedents which have occurred during this rebellion and in other countries would have justified a capitulation ; but I thought, and my comrades in council thought, that we owed our lives to the Government rather than make such a degrading concessions to rebels in arms against its authority . The propositions concluded upon in that council were, that in consequence of the entire exhaustion of our artillery ammunition, it was impossible to hold the post against the overwhelming forces of the enemy, and that a further prolongation of the defense could only result in sacrificing the lives of our soldiers without any practical benefit to the country; that we owed it to the honor of the Federal arms to make an effort to force our way through the lines of the beleaguering foe; that the artillery and wagons should be abandoned, and the division . brigade, and regimental quartermasters instructed to bring away all public horses, and that the brigades, in the order of their numbers, should march from the forts at 1 o'clock in the morning, carrying with them their arms and the usual supply of ammunition. The Thirteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry was attached to the Third Brigade. The forts were evacuated at the time designated, and immediately thereafter the cannon spiked and the ammunition which could not be carried by the soldiers thrown into the cisterns of the forts. The column proceeded through a ravine, avoiding the town of winchester, about 1 mile, until it struck the Martinsburg road. It then proceeded up the Martinsburg road to where a road leads from it to Summit Station, about and 1/2 miles from Winchester, when I received a message from General Elliott that he was attacked by the enemy's skirmishers. I had Heard the firing, and was riding forward. The enemy was on elevated ground in a woods east of the road and